We all have our favourite beers. The ones we return to again and again. Sometimes though it’s good to break out from the norm and try something new, something to give the tastebuds a tickle.
Here is the Prestige Drinks guide to great beers you’ve possibly never tasted. Ales designed for strong flavour or robustness, which also deliver a great taste and, who knows, might make it onto your regular beer carousel?
The beer of choice at the court of Catherine II of Russia (giving rise to the alternative name ‘Russian Imperial Stout’). This is an ale renowned for strong roasted flavours and high ABV, which any fan of darker beers should test their palate on.
We have two imperial stouts in our range. From Norway comes Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout, an unfiltered beer that manages to hide its alcohol strength (9% ABV) under a smooth texture and chocolate and coffee flavours.
An even smoother alternative is Left Hand Wake Up Dead Nitro. At 10% ABV it’s even stronger than the Nøgne Ø, but manages to be even smoother thanks to Left Hand’s innovative use of nitrogen in the bottling process.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Every craft beer drinker knows about IPAs and the challenge is often on to find a variety which offers something beyond the norm. Torpedo Extra IPA goes the extra mile to punch the maximum hops into an IPA through the brewers unique ‘hop torpedo’ device.
The hop torpedo pushes more hop flavours into the beer, without adding bitterness. As a drinker you get more citrus, alongside the smooth malt base, making this ale the one to try when other IPAs don’t cut the mustard.
Lambics are from the Pajottenland region of Belgium. Unlike other ales, fermentation is actioned through exposure to the wild yeast and bacteria of the Zentner valley.
This unpredictable brewing process gives lambic’s a distinctive flavour profile; dry, earthy, and with a sour aftertaste. It’s a beer that could be authentically brewed nowhere else.
The sourness of lambics is often tempered through fruit flavours, and served as an aperitif. Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic is a great introduction to this beer style, marrying lambic earthiness with raspberry. When you’re ready for something more traditional, try Timmerman’s Faro Lambic, which copies a style popular in the 1800s by adding sugar to sweeten the taste.
Magic Rock Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose
The gose is a rare Germanic beer style (at least these days — back in the 1800s it was all the rage around Leipzig) with a lemon sourness and strong salty taste. Items which give this style a biting flavour profile; which Magic Rock wanted to maximise with Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose.
Taking the gose as base, Magic Rock added gooseberry fruit flavour, sea buckthorn, and sea salt for a wince-inducing drink that divides people more than marmite. Fans take it to their heart, everyone else takes it nervously. Until you try it you’ll never know which side you’re on.
Robust flavours, and unusual beer styles, are attractive to craft beer drinkers looking to break out of their normal rote. Some beers take time to warm to, others could be your next favourite beer (which certainly happened to me the first time I tried Wake Up Dead Nitro), either way it’s always worth trying something different and putting your tastebuds to the test.